Capability for the future…when everything and nothing has changed

In 2006 I sat in a room with my team as we prepared to deliver a 5-day leadership development program. The program was about preparing leaders for the future and building their capability in the areas that would matter the most, to navigate what was to come in the world.

The program was designed with all the future-thinking research that was available at the time. It focused leaders on things such as emotional intelligence, communication, understanding impact on others, complex problem solving and critical thinking skills, innovation, and building a culture of learning.

As we delivered the program, we heard stories of when care and empathy had led to incredibly impactful moments of leadership. We heard stories of emotional pain and overwhelm as leaders wrestled with burnout and increasing complexity in business decisions. The vulnerability the group demonstrated during this shared experience saw deep connections form, resulting in an enduring impact on everyone. And, as we closed out the program, we heard insights from leaders that would surpass their role as leaders. These insights would support them to be at their best, as humans, more often. 

Fast forward to 2020. Everything has changed. Or has it? Sure, a global pandemic is new.  Sure, the commercial environment for businesses has been flipped on its head.  And yes, technology has created a whole new landscape.


Yet when we look to the capabilities needed to navigate our new frontier, it seems we always knew what was required for the future. It’s just the future has turned up sooner, and more abruptly, than we expected.


In 2018, The World Economic Forum reminded us of the capabilities that were on the rise and in demand for the future. As it would turn out, we did have some idea of what capabilities would be needed back in 2006. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we need to build these future capabilities right here and now. We have also had the opportunity to get right under the hood of the future capabilities and understand what they look like in real life. When we looked under the hood of Bunch, here is some of what we have seen that will help us dive head-first into today’s future.  

  • Resilience and wellbeing.

    • Finding ways to navigate the waves of ambiguity in both our personal and professional lives has never been more critical. For some, this comes back to the most basic of things: sleep enough, eat well, move and connect with people who make you feel good. For others, it’s about asking for help when it’s needed. And, for all of us, it’s about keeping an eye out for each other and talking openly about the ups and downs of life.
  • Connection and belonging.

    • This has taken on a new meaning as we operate in increasingly digital spaces. We are wired for connection as humans and we need to make sure no one is left on the sidelines. How are we making sure none of our team, friends or family are left on the digital sidelines right now?
  • Agility to reskill and a learning mindset.

    • This doesn’t mean being a super-human who learns amazing new skills in iso. We salute those in trackies getting through 2020 one day at a time! It’s about being open to giving something new a red-hot crack or getting curious about a new solution that might help you connect better or add value in a new way.
  • Complex problem-solving.

    • The need to explore paradox and polarity is front and centre in new ways. Slowing down (even for a moment) to take the time to think through new and complex problems with others is more important than ever.
  • Empathy.

    • This has to be the hero of 2020. We’ve known for a long time that empathy is a superpower capability and this year has shown us just how powerful it is. Empathy fuels connection (to quote our friend Brené Brown), which is our deepest human need.

As we all take on the challenge of building future capabilities here and now, let’s make sure we couple it with a huge dose of kindness to ourselves and everyone around us.

When we have to learn something quickly, we’ll all stuff it up from time to time, and that’s okay.

Source: Future of Jobs report 2018, World Economic Forum